periodical swarming 2016

  • Posted on: 13 May 2016
  • By: Previous Farm

by Chappell on our previous farm

they're everywhere! on every vertical surface, in the leaves of trees, on door jambs and window frames, just everywhere.

i watched one slowly emerge from it's shell, and thought: oh geeze, the locusts swarms are here, the year we up the ante with our production for whf. what will become of us now? 

while it was fascinating to actually be able to witness the laborious process of this animal with the big red eyes cracking from it's shell and slowly rising like a cake in the oven, it was also terrifying to think of them swarming in great number to devour and destroy our food production this year. knowing that i didn't really know enough about what kind of damage they can do and how to thwart their efforts, i looked them up on the internet, where i discovered these critters are NOT locusts, but periodical cicadas, which do relatively little crop damage, but can damage the fruit and nut trees, as well as shrubs through the process of egg laying. this is because the females slit twigs of a diameter of a 1/2" or less to deposit their eggs, moving in a line down the twig, leaving several egg groupings. this occurs 10 days after the cicada brood emerges, and if you don't like the idea of a significant amount of pruning come next spring, you can net your young, susceptible fruit and nut trees with 1/4" netting. hint: we find tulle to be an inexpensive means to net small trees!

brood V will arrive in MD.OH,PA,VA,and WV this year. this brood is a 17 year cycle, and began emerging here on the farm in central west virginia 5 days ago you've got 5 days to get your trees netted. ready, set, go! 


trees to protect:

Apple Trees 
Black Eyed Susan 
Crab Apple 
Dogwood Tree
Fruit Trees in general 
Grape vines 
Japanese Maple 
Peach Tree 
Pear Tree 
Raspberry vines 
Rose of Sharon 


you can watch a cicada molting in this time lapse video.



molted shell on my walking sticks
molted shell on my walking sticks


Here's hoping the damage is very minimal! No one said farming is easy! The time lapse video was beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

fortunately we farm out of dedication to restoring the eco balance of our planet and to steward the land for future generations of our family. nothing worthy is easy! we'll wrap gianni's "perfect apple tree" specimen, and do whatever pruning is necessary next spring. glad you ejoyed the video!

This is crazy. Did the netting do the trick. I hope!

we think it should do the trick, as it's the recommended means for saving vulnerable trees. we'll only know for certain next spring.;)

Wow! Just like Little House on the Prairie! (Actually, I think it was On the Banks of Plum Creek.)